Worldbuilding: Patricia C. Wrede on Worldbuilding via SFWA

Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions on SFWA's website is an artice that I really recommend that anyone writing a science fiction or fantasy to read through carefully. It is worth the effort and asks a lot of the questions that you need to answer at some point or another while you are going through the world building process.

The second part is me talking about why I think that these questions are so important to answer.

So, you think you're a science fiction or fantasy writer.You think you've plotted and planned everything out. But have you? This is something that I think every writer should carefully consider. Just how far should you go with your world building?

It is a two-edged sword. Not enough information, and you'll create plot holes and inconsistencies. Too much information, and you're just wasting your time.

So, how do you know what to build and what not to build? Here is a brief list of some of the things I feel is necessary:

  • Trade
  • Religion
  • Geography
  • Countries / Maps
  • Politics
  • Culture
  • Magic System

A lot of the things Patricia asks are in one of these categories. Culture, for example, includes prejudices, attire, and how people interact with each other. After all, that is what a culture is! Politics is more government based, but also includes cultural influences.

No matter how you organize your world, be it through a story bible or in your head, consider each question Patricia asks in her post and ask yourself, “Does this apply to my story, my writing style, and my world?”

You might find yourself surprised by how often you answer, “Yes.”

Leave a Comment:

Patrick says January 31, 2013

Thanks. I’m just out of work and have time to devote to writing:) Thanks for posting this.

Ashley St Laurent says October 5, 2013

What do you mean exactly by the magic system? I like your blog but I don’t see anywhere to sign up.

    RJBlain says October 6, 2013

    Magic systems are the way magic and the supernatural work in fantasy and other genres of fiction that include these elements. It’s also used in things like fairy tales, and stories based on mythology.

Cygnet Brown says February 16, 2016

Whether a fantasy or fiction world, the closer it can be in structure to the realities of life, the more likely the reader is to identify with the characters. Once the reader identifies with the characters, the reader is sucked into that world that you have created.

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